Aruba Trip Reports

LaCabana Beach & Racquet Club

May 15 - May 23rd, 2009 by Corrine

Aruba Forum Profile: Corrine

This was our 8th trip to Aruba. We stayed at our timeshare at La Cabana
and went with another couple who stay at their timeshare at Paradise Beach Villas.
We went for nine days.


Ah what to say about American Airlines? On the way, we had a very nice smooth flight. We were served ½ glass of water for 4 ½ hours! I asked for a bottle of water and received another ½ glass of water! I purchased the "cheese and crackers" for $4. Inside were one small piece of cheese and four tiny crackers, along with raisins and a bag of nuts I cannot eat because of braces! Customs was a breeze!

After getting the car from Optima and groceries at Lings (stocked up on Aroma Rood coffee and Speculaas cookies to bring home as well), we ate dinner for the first time at Mango. What a treat! The food was delicious especially the pork tenderloin in a sweet cranberry sauce. With wine and a split dessert the bill was about $75. Service is excellent as well.


Was a bit overcast. After a day at the beach at La Cabana, we went to Marandi. Marandi is now a bit hard to find as the signs are pretty small but well worth it. Our favorite meal of the week! Superb food (I had Surf and Turf, can’t remember what Steve had), service and atmosphere. With drinks and a shared dessert, the bill was $140, but worth every penny. You can see the sunset here!

The rest of the week was HOT and sunny. Not one drop of rain!


Was a day at the beach. The Islander Grill at La Cabana is being renovated but the food in the outdoor tent was very good. That night we ate at Café Rembrandt for the first time. Thank you, Amy! Excellent food at reasonable prices and the staff is a delight. The Nasi Goreng was to die for. Steve’s Dutch meatballs were yum! We went back later in the week for dinner and the live band. We loved this place!

Sunday night we also went to Bugaloe Beach Bar. A great fun bar! Marisela and the Aquarius Band played with a little kid who looked liked the owner’s child. The best band on Aruba to me – not much Top 40, a lot of salsa and dancing music. People of all ages and nationalities were there. We wound up sitting with a group of young Dutch students and had a blast. The dancing was great too. I heard on the other board that there was a robbery this same night and I am sorry to hear it.


I was already fried from the sun. We spent a day at the Paseo Herencia mall. This was much nicer than I thought it would be! Very classy, great shops with nice staff. Steve got a few nice shirts and I had my eye on a Mario Hernandez wallet. In fact we met him that day at his store. Beautiful hand-made leather goods from Columbia, very hard to resist! I can't remember for the life of me where we ate this evening...........


Was a beach chill out day. We spent the day at Paradise Beach Villas. The timeshare rooms are beautiful, all re-done in tile. The pool is very nice and so is the staff. Dinner at Madame Janette’s. I gave up my usual Gianni Versace Steak for coconut-almond crusted shrimp with a mild Thai curry. Steve had GV steak. We shared with each and both were excellent. Our friends had fish and both were happy. But – no more Grandma’s Bread Pudding!! Settled for the most delicious light coconut cake instead!


It had to be another day out of the sun for me. I have been using SPF 30 but my back was in pain. We went downtown and had breakfast at Dutch Pancake House. I thought we were at Café The Plaza! But our Dutch pancakes were very good! They were setting up for "pole-sitting" but I never got back there is see it.

Shopping was a bit depressing. My favorite shoe store is gone (Sole). I got a few things at the Aruba Aloe store. I recommend the new Intensive Face Cream if you have dry skin, it is excellent. The clerk threw in an extra SPF 15 sunscreen for free! I got my perfumes at Dufry, excellent prices. Then, across the street to the Renaissance Marketplace. They are redoing this shopping area. Shabby Chic had almost nothing but Rage was very well stocked and I got a couple of nice silver pieces there. We went to my favorite store, back at LaCabana, Salsa, very little stock there as well. We headed up to T.H. Palm and I didn’t find anything there either. (My husband is pretty happy at this point!) But people are clearly not shopping as they used to and the stores are feeling it!

Back to the new mall. The water show is not Bellagio, but short and sweet. We saw Angels and Demons at the new theater. The theater is great! Prices on snacks are cheaper than the US, it is super clean & comfortable. We also checked out Buster’s Garage. We both liked it a lot. It has ample parking, drinks were great, and it is large and roomy. They had plenty of games on to choose from, including Yankees or Mets for us. And there were no kids. Then on to Café Rembrandt again for dinner and enjoyed the band, but it was the same one as La Cabana. I liked Café Chaos better for music.


DePalm Island. Our friends insisted we go (with another couple and their kids) and I am so glad we did! This place was sooo much fun. It was busy due to Ascension Day, a holiday in Aruba. But there were plenty of lounge chairs and large huts. There is a snorkeling area, where my friend Donna fed large blue fish from her hand. Steve and I gave snorkeling another try, and were actually pretty good this time. I saw lots of cool fish. We did the water slides at the water park. The other couple’s kids couldn’t leave this place. We all had a buffet lunch, that was much improved from last year, my friend said. They have a new chef. The grouper creole was great and I usually hate fish. They also had chicken, rice, fried bananas, salads and a great creole cake. Another large building had hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and a kid’s area, as well as free water, soda or a couple of choices of frozen drinks. After lunch, Steve and I went to one of the two coves for swimming. Water was incredibly warm and calm. Our group was aged from 7 to 57 years old, and I don’t know who had the most fun here! Plus I discovered snorkeling with braces is possible! All was included in the $65 price for ½ day.


Our last full day – beach, pool, and a last Happy Hour! We met our friends at Passions. Everyone’s meal (again they all got fish) was perfect except mine. My T-Bone was tasty but very thin and a bit tough. Next time I’ll stick to the coconut shrimp. But all else was good, and the atmosphere is die for. Just sitting, vegging, while watching the sun set. Plus there was a singer/guitar player that was excellent. It was hard to get up and leave…….


Our last day. We took at quick ride back up to the mall where I finally got one of those Mario Hernandez wallets! Impossible to pick just one! And we finished off with a great lunch at Taste of Belgium. Steve had the veal croquette with a salad, which is Belgian and I had the Croquet Madame, a simple ham, cheese and egg sandwich perfectly made with a chopped salad.

  • I never made it to water aerobics or the gym.
  • I was sorry we never made it to Gasparito!
  • Another perfect fun time in Aruba, except…..

What is it with AA and mechanical problems??? On the way home – Before the flight takes off (thank GOD) all the lights, TV and air conditioning go out. We are told "not to worry, just a small engine that went out" Some people started to laugh, one lady from Boston got hysterical and another lady, part of a gospel church group stood up and prayed to the Lord to get it started. Would you believe it came back on?? We were told, "don’t worry it has nothing to do with the main engines!?" And yes we were served another ½ glass of water. I had had it at that point and had a Bloody Mary. If this happened after the Air France disaster, I think I would have walked off!

A word about LaCabana

Owners were requested for an additional $1,000 besides maintenance increases (and that is for only a 1BR unit) two years ago for upgrading. My unit is still not upgraded, nor the unit I exchanged for. The bathroom and kitchens are getting gross! So scratched and stained, the kitchen has an ancient stove and appliances. TV service (when it worked) and water has been cut back on but that I can live with. I can see they are not getting good money from rentals and why should they compared to Paradise Beach Villas and the AM in the same area. The quality of some of the people were a bit weird and they are clearly not putting money back into the resort like timeshare owners do and do not take care of the facility like we do. I would see maybe one worker in each of the four levels they would be working on. Come on, get it done already! The pool and the grounds are so nice, the Pata Pata Bar is so fun and the Islander Grill food is good. I do love La Cabana, I like the liveliness and the great staff, but the other low-rise resorts (including Aruba Beach Club as well) can do it and we are foundering. (yes they are smaller).
Just my opinion!